Yondu’s Mary Poppins MCU Moment Belonged to the X-Men First
“I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!” was a heartwarming (and hilarious) MCU highlight, but an X-Men hero actually proved he has more right to the claim.
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When thinking of Michael Rooker’s portrayal of Yondu Udonta in the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it’s hard not to think of his, “I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!” declaration, but in the comics, the X-Men’s Gambit actually got there first, with an equally heart-warming moment. In the Ultimate Universe – a popular alternate reality used to retell Marvel stories in the modern era without the burden of past continuity – Gambit is a down-on-his-luck street performer who must become a hero in order to save a young girl from Spider-Man villain Hammerhead.
In Ultimate X-Men #13-14, from Chuck Austen and Esad Ribic, Remy’s everyday show of charm and power catches the attention of a little girl who believes Gambit’s kinetic energy absorption and projection is actually magic. When she reveals that her mother and her boyfriend were murdered by the gangster Hammerhead, Gambit consoles the grieving child, promising to learn the kind of magic that she needs while giving her a temporary home. When Remy later discovers the girl has been kidnapped, he tears through New York and various criminals to find her.
After finding Hammerhead’s location, Gambit uses his abilities to take out the villain and his henchmen, initially believing his ward has already been killed. Thankfully, Hammerhead was lying, but Remy realizes that the girl can’t stay with him considering his lifestyle and the enemies he has collected over the years. When he decides to leave her with some missionary workers who previously offered him somewhere safe to sleep, Remy distracts her with an offer to fly just like Mary Poppins. With her eyes closed and thinking herself light as a feather, Remy charges her umbrella and for a few moments, the child is happy floating in the air until her landing, when she discovers Gambit has moved on.
Yondu’s Mary Poppins moment is equally sweet, as Star-Lord jokes that Yondu looks like Mary Poppins when using his Yaka Arrow to descend slowly through the sky, with Yondu shouting his iconic line once Peter – who is only now acknowledging Yondu as his adopted father – confirms the character is cool. When he sacrifices himself to save Peter Quill’s life shortly after, this becomes a touching final moment of bonding between Quill and his surrogate father. Similarly, Remy refuses to say goodbye by playing into the child’s innocence and wonder. As the girl begins to float into the air, the reader is there with her for the ride and feels the sinking hurt when the magic wears off and the child is left alone, seemingly abandoned by her surrogate parent.
Although he was remembered in spectacular fashion by friends and family, Yondu’s Mary Poppins boast has lived on in cosplayers and memes as one of his final moments. But while Gambit went on to have further adventures with the X-Men, the little girl isn’t seen again beyond this issue, which ends with Gambit revisiting his young friend, secretly delivering one of his trademark playing cards to leave no doubt that he regrets their parting, but has to move on – a sentiment which ultimately also came to embody Yondu’s Mary Poppins moment.